Posted tagged ‘Bonhoeffer’

A New Adventure

February 21, 2016

WORDS FROM W.W.                                                     February 21, 2016

                                     

I’ve been an Air Force Academy season ticket holder for men’s basketball for five years now. This week I received an on-line evaluation to provide feedback on the positives and negatives of that. The wording of one of the questions was interesting. It asked “Between one and 10, how would you rate the Air Force basketball experience?”

The wording was interesting to me! Rate the experience!

About once a month I receive another on-line evaluation asking me to rate a dining experience that Carol and I have had in a restaurant we have been to.

Whether we use a survey or just makes mental notes, all of us rate experiences. Disney refers to visits to their theme parks as “The Disney Experience.” People are drawn to experiences.

Recently I was having coffee with two men, who are close friends of mine, and we started talking about our walks with Christ. When I asked one of my friends how he would describe his Christian experience he paused for a moment of contemplation, and then he said “It is an adventure.” He continued, “Walking with Christ has it’s mountains and valleys, highs and lows, but regardless, it is an adventure.”

Well said, my brother! When I read the faith journeys of people like Adoniram Judson, William Wilberforce, Corey Ten Boom, William Carey, Martin Luther, or Dietrich Bonhoeffer the constant is “an experience of adventure.” Sometimes it led to death, sometimes it led to a deeper understanding of the love of God or the grace of God or faith in God. There were moments of personal crisis and periods of celebrating the victories. Through each of their journeys the defining term was adventure.

When you ponder about your faith journey where would you say the adventure is? Often that adventure comes in the midst of the intersecting of our faith with our career. There are a multitude of people who work in occupations where their decisions flow out of their faith journey. Parents raise their children out of a foundation built on faith.

The adventure is seeing the hand of God in the midst of our lives and other lives. The adventure is approaching today and the next day with the assurance that God is present, and with the dominating question “What might God want to be about in my life today?”

Rate your experience. Raise your expectations!

The Pastor’s Nursery

September 20, 2015

WORDS FROM W.W.                                                                  September 19, 2015

                                           

When I walk into my office at the church I pastor I need to step around the rocking chair, and then side step the rocking horse. It’s an obstacle course to get to my desk. Avoid the squeaky rabbit and the weathered doll baby. Toddler toys are huddled together in a corner whispering about life…right behind the changing table.

Not a typical situation, but one that I’m adjusting to. Our roof leak over part of the usual nursery childcare area has caused multiple examples of improvising. For a couple of weeks the babies and toddlers are surrounded by Bonhoeffer, C.S. Lewis, and Tozer. Perhaps the theology and examples of sacrifice will sink in!

Our nursery workers are scheming. I’ve heard them talking about switching my desk chair with the low-riding rocking horse. Nursery pranksters!

Adjusting. An essential part of being a community of faith is “adjusting.” Demanding preferences that are not rooted in God creates division and tension. Adjusting to the flow of the community enhances mission and ministry.

There are numerous opportunities for the fellowship of followers to practice a new spiritual discipline that I’ll call “yielding.” In the past it has been referred to in different ways…serving, fellowship, even worship. But kind of like the World History textbook we used to have in high school where you never quite got to the end of the book before summer vacation, “yielding” is that spiritual practice we never quite get to because of all the other things that we’re focusing on.

How do you yield? Put a rocking horse in your normal daily pathway and you’ll either kick it or take a side-step. We all need a few “rocking horses” in our lives, but especially in the tugging and pulling of a congregation.

Tomorrow morning when I open my office door and “Trigger” is hunched there ready to gallop it will make me think, and remember once again, that it’s not all about me!

When the roof leak situation has been remedied and the changing table goes back to the nursery down the hallway I may keep the horse for a while. It helps me keep perspective!

A Revolution

April 16, 2014

WORDS FROM W.W.                                           April 15, 2014

                                        

 

We live in turbulent times where going against the grain is often frowned upon. Just try doing the speed limit on the highway and see the extended middle finger get shown to you by drivers speeding by who have important places to be. Isn’t it interesting that going the speed limit is seen as being radical now.

Revolutions are occurring around the world in nations where governments are teetering on survival. Some of the revolutions are the rise of people against injustice, while others are radical revolutionaries bent on causing destruction.

Jesus was considered a radical by the religious establishment of his day because he questioned what was, and talked about a relationship with the Lord God Jehovah that was intimate and personal. He was seen as a revolutionary, and yet he was exactly on target. A peacemaker is seen as being a troublemaker if society is anchored to war and unrest.

I just finished Bonhoeffer by Eric Metaxas. it’s the biography of the pastor, teacher, writer, and mentor who was executed by Hitler at the end of World War Two, just a few days before the Allied Forces marched into Berlin. At his memorial service on July 27, 1945 Holy Trinity Church in London, Franz Hildebrandt used a quote from Bonhoeffer in his sermon. On his last visit to London he had said, “Why should it always have to be the bad people who make the revolutions?”

What an idea! What a life mission for anyone of us! To ignite a revolution of lovingkindness and service! That describes the early church in Rome. In the midst of a culture that exalted Caesar to being a deity there were the Christ-lovers who cared for those who no one cared about. An epidemic swept through Rome that was leaving five thousand people a day dead. Family members who were sick were abandoned to die alone. Many of them were literally pushed into the streets and banned from entering the home again…to simply suffer and die alone.

And in the midst of that miserable situation a community of Christ-lovers emerged. They were seen as being revolutionaries of lovingkindness. They ignored the danger of the spreading disease and took the sick under their care, attending to their needs. Most of the sick passed away, but they departed life with a sense of peace as opposed to being seen as discarded and rejected.

That early Christian community was taking the words of Jesus in Matthew 25 about caring for those in need as the gospel to be lived out. It was a revolution committed to Christlikeness.

What might the next revolution be? Right in the midst of one’s community? Across a sea to a distant place of suffering? A decision to give as cup of cold water to someone passing by that I don’t know? An invitation to a worship service where Jesus will be proclaimed?

As Bonhoeffer said, “Why should it always have to be the bad people who make the revolutions?”